29 July 2014

Bits and Bobs

My blog posts have slowed of late, to free up some time for making.  Many new ideas are rushing through my head about Christmas.  I am thinking six months ahead.  Do you have the need to plan ahead for the silly season?  Do you ferret through a pile of Christmas pics and fabric looking for the merry inspiration bug to bite?  I have fossicked and fiddled,  elbow deep in doileys, lace and beautiful braids, loosing track of time as I play to my hearts content. This is big girls play!  I have pulled out bits and bobs, fabric I had forgotten was so pretty and mixed and imagined the projects I could make.  I have drawn up the pattern of my first modern quilt, a story in pictures, soon to shown on the blog.  This sudden spurt of activity has refreshed me, I was feeling frustrated at not being able to complete anything or sometimes start anything for that matter.  I am now embracing the still cooler days to nestle down and make some things - for the nest!  It is sometimes nice to not buy new and create with bits and bobs of things you have, the results may surprise you!   What is the nicest thing you have made with bits and bobs?  Did you keep it or give it away?  Here are some nesting bits and bobs pics! 


My first peek at spring - for you too. 
P.S. I have tried to space these photos in a lovely way for you but the -----computer is not doing what it is told! Oh, well x

19 July 2014

Quilt Labels: Revisited.

Quilters spend hours producing a spectacular finished product, however labels can be run of the mill, a quick print and stitch to add sentiments and making details for the recipient.  Being a rebel of sorts, I decided that the time had come to rejuvenate my label selection, adding a bit of creative spark to the rear of my quilts!  Labels should be seen and admired.  

15 July 2014

Motivation Station!



I have had issues lately with motivation and procrastination.  It is a definite diagnosis of which I don't know the cause.  Is it winter's short days, am I more energetic and motivated on sunny days?  Probably.  I don't have a set routine each day being a shift worker for twenty five years.  Allowances have to be made for the extra sleep I need, it's a fact I am not getting any younger!  Not making excuses here I promise.  I have multiple ideas for new projects and am keen to get my Etsy shop full of patterns and little pieces of art going, but have been unable to sit myself down to get organized to type up patterns and to make more projects.  I have some gorgeous ideas, I promise you but have been doing everything else like shopping, gardening and reading magazines.  Distractions are bountiful I have found and I am very good at being distracted! = frustration ++! 

I am trying to overcome this creative hurdle in several ways and I hope I can help you lovely crafters,  if you are in a slump as well. 

My first solution to procrastination is:  Buy something new!

I  enjoyed picking out some new fabric in lovely pinks and greens last week.  It is waiting to be made in to two modern quilts.  I figure if I post about it, it may motivate me to make it!  If you are a fabric lover like me, it is nice just to look and feel new fabric.  I love to see it hanging on the line washed and waiting to be made into something new.

I decided to see what I already had in the way of fabric too.  I have a lovely way to store my fat quarters in this 1950's wooden doll house.  I have a thing about artwork of the 1950's and had a close look at the motif on the front, simply cute.  I had to take a close-up .  I felt excited to open the door and look at all my pretty bits.  It was refreshing to glimpse at what gorgeous colors and designs I had collected over the years.  Another solution:  Re-examine your stash!

I have dealt with the slump before by making something small.  This week I decided to curl up with the heater on and stitch up some different ideas I had for quilt labels.  Adding something pretty and unusual to your quilt back can enhance the sentimental value of the quilt as a gift.  I am definitely over the square handwritten ones, even though they serve the same purpose.  I have nearly finished the button card label, daisy label and paper doll chain.  The Heartworkz label shown below will be a free printable for you to add to inkjet fabric and personalize.  Just had to show you!

I tried to remind myself I have achieved something lately by photographing two recently completed projects. The Boutique Bunny and garland will be the start of my PDF pattern series.  If you love trimmings and like to use lots of different embellishments then this is for you.  Being the only women in a male household, I enjoy making pretty in pink, girly designs occasionally.  Flutterby's is a new addition made from vintage doileys and lots of ribbon and trimming.  Will also be available as a PDF.  What great projects have you completed in the past?  

I am a big nature lover and have been inundated with a late bloom of camelias in my garden.  The bright pink and green are a joy to look at on a dull day.  I just have to pick them and bring them inside.  There is nothing like fresh blooms to brighten your day and I think the colour was an inspiration for the quilt and fabrics I chose.  Yes, another solution:  Look for inspiration in nature.  
By writing this post I am feeling motivated and excited about getting my craft mojo back.  So thank-you lovely readers for allowing me to share my thoughts on this page.      

Do you have a cure for procrastination?  How do you get motivated and out of the creative slump?  

7 July 2014

Everything seems better after a Cuppa!


 I am having a very late link-up and cuppa along with the Blog with Pip students from May 2014.  The wonderful and creative Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes is our hostess.  As far as I am concerned, anytime is the right time for a cuppa and a chat!

I am a tea girl at the moment, must be strong Twinings if possible, Traditional Afternoon Tea.  What is it about this time of year that makes a cup of tea so wrap your hands around it enjoyable?  Is it that it warms you from the inside out, or is it the sweet dunking biscuit or  muffin that goes nicely with it?  I am attracted to lashings of icing in a cake, anything chocolate screams at me!  Do you have a favorite mug?  Mine is a Maxwell and Williams polka dot lime green doosie.  The wide lip lets the tea just cool a little and not burn the lips.  I have to admit I have to try to get excited about this time of year as I am a summer girl (not a beach babe anymore)!  A cuppa is one of my most enjoyable things during the cold, winter months.  Here is my list of  another five faves at the moment.  Check out the other lovely, ladies linky's joining in the cuppa and chat too!  

1.   Vintage Shopping
What better way to fill in a rainy day than with a visit to the op shops.  I browsed along Chapel Street in Prahran recently and visited several shops including the wonderful Chapel Street Bazaar.  You will not leave the building without buying something!  It is cosy, well organized and full of nooks and cranny's to fossick in.  I am fond of metal at the moment and bought a gorgeous wrought iron recipe stand, dressmakers model and toast rack.  Not to be used for toast, but to hold my arty farty work upright as it dries.  Oops, nearly forgot the 1950's or 60's little wooden sewing box, fold out, complete with pink lined drawers.  It is holding my collage bits and pieces.  Mmm, lovely.

2.  Walking
I am one of those crazy people that likes to walk in the cold weather.  I get quite claustrophobic if I can't get outside once a day for a fresh air fix.  I don't mind a light bit of rain and my two beagles just don't care!  Where are the puddles?  It rejuvenates me and makes me feel alive. 

3.  Reading Icy Sparks.
I picked this book by Gwyn Hyman Rubio in St Vinnie's, read the blurb at the back and couldn't put it down.  It is about a young girl in Kentucky in the 1950's who has Tourettes Syndrome and how  it affects her growing up and relationships.  She tries to hide the tics and is bullied at school.  It is heartwarming and you will fall in love with the characters.  It is also an Oprah's Book Club Book.  A must read.  

4.  Stepping out of my Comfort Zone
Dreaming up new craft projects is an on-going favorite thing.  I recently bought an E-Book by Cyntia Gonzalez-Pell on selling your designs as PDF patterns.  This is an absolute blessing as it means I can design one project, make the original and hopefully sell the pattern.  I am thankful for technology at the moment ( I don't believe I am saying that!) as I have learnt so much.  Completing the Blog with Pip course has opened my eyes to how amazing and visual you can make your blog for your readers.  Lately, I have absorbed some modern inspiration for my quilting.  There is a lot of negative or unadorned space in a modern quilt and you can have one really stand out feature, block or blocks and the quilt is done!  I have also noticed that they use lots of solid fabrics, so I will have to learn to love solids! Finally, the actual quilting is a very important feature especially on the negative space and it can really enhance to design of the quilt. Learning is fun!

5.  Watching The Voice and Offspring.
My hubby has a distinct dislike for super gushy music shows but has been enjoying The Voice.  Gushiness is kept to a minimum he says!  Nina and her adventures on Offspring is a source of on-going entertainment!  Baby Zoe is super cute and adorable. 

More tea anyone?  One lump or two? 

5 July 2014

5000 Poppies

Crafting for Good

Whilst wandering the aisles of the Craft and Quilt show in Melbourne, I was so moved to find a wonderful stand dedicated to making poppies in honour of our servicemen and women who have unselfishly fought for  our country since the first World War.   Poppies were flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli with the poppy becoming a symbol of both great loss in war and hope for those left behind.  Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War.  Next year marks 100 years since the Anzac Gallipoli landing.  On Anzac Day 2015, Federation Square in Melbourne will be strewn with handmade red poppies.  

Textile designers Lyn Berry and Margaret Knight initiated the project asking for 5000 to be made, however  20,000 or more have been crafted by those who wish to remember family members and friends who have served.  I spoke to Bernice Darby who was coordinating the poppy workshops on the day of the show and she stated that the response has been overwhelming.  The project initally began on a smaller scale as a way to show respect and remember Lyn's father who fought in the second world war.  Crafters are giving by nature and to see people of all age groups sitting and making poppies instead of shopping at the craft show was very humbling.

5000 poppies has a dedicated blog where you can obtain patterns for knitting, sewing or crocheting your poppy with details on where to submit your completed poppies.  Please show your support and craft a poppy.  

Lest We Forget

4 July 2014

The Craft Show Survival Guide

What do you get when you mix a whole lot of gorgeous fabrics, the latest craft gismos and gadgets and lots of women with money in their pockets all under one roof ?    The big top of craft, AKA the craft show of course!   A feast for the eyes and a mind boggling place for inspiration, enjoyment and learning new skills.  Not for the feint hearted, but with a little bag of tricks up your sleeve, you too can navigate the miles of aisles and have an enjoyable, pain free and memorable day.  I have recently spent a blissful day at the Craft and Quilt Fair in Melbourne run by Expertise Events.  Here are my tips and enjoy!

1.  Use a Site Map.
Orientate yourself at the start to where the toilets and food stalls are.  Mark your favorite stalls on the map so you don't miss them.

2.  Look or Learn?
Do you want to look all day or be hands -on or both?  If you have a penchant for learning some new skills and want to shop till you drop as well, maybe a two day pass is the go.  I have often attended workshops and tried to shop in one day only to run out of time to race back to the stand where I wanted to make a special purchase, at the end of the day.

3.  Buy Now not Later.
Buy things as you see them or ask the exhibitor if you can pick them up at the end of the day.  I have learnt this the hard way and have returned to a stall only to find they are all sold out of a special kit or fabric.  Make use of locker facilities so you can store and then explore some more.

3.  My Husbands Tip
Leave your credit card at home ??? and take a limited amount of cash.  (P.S.  I have never done this-Sorry Honey).  If you are watching your pennies, take a list of must have supplies you need to buy with a little to spend on special items to treat yourself. 

4.  Take Public Transport.
 It is no fun being exhausted from getting up at 5am and having to travel home afterwards.  Be safe, be sensible.  Plan a sleep-over with a friend or family member.

5.  Creature Comforts.
Take a water bottle to keep hydrated and wear comfy shoes, style is not an issue on a big shopping day! Have a bag that you can comfortably hang crosswise over your body to keep your hands free or a back pack.  Some ladies are well equipped with wheelie trolleys-think of how much you can fit in one of those! Wear layers so you can de-robe if excitement and numerous other bodies are heating you up.

7.  Ask before you Click!
As a designer I know that many, many hours of time and effort goes into producing wonderful works, so please be courteous and ask before you take a pic.  They will so appreciate it.

8.  Make notes.
Take a little notebook in your bag to jot down contact details or ideas for future projects. Draw, doodle, list in your little black book. 

9.  Eat and Drink, Be Merry!
Dehydration causes confusion, dizziness and headaches.  You want stamina under the big top of craft so take regular snack breaks to rest your feet and to load up on carbs!

10.  Team Work
If you go in a group, decide if you want to look together or split up and meet at a particular time for lunch and show and tell!  Some members of the group may want ot attend a workshop on behalf of others and share their information and skills afterwards.  This saves time and can ensure that everyone's interests are catered for.  

11.  Give Feedback.
Designers are there to not only showcase their work but to find out what you like about their designs, or what you don't.  They usually like to meet you, have a chat and hear your thoughts. 

Amazing entrants in the secondary school  Texstyle design awards sponsored by Husqvarna